Testing Procedure at Aikido London

Testing for Kyu or Dan is a time filled with excitement and anxiety. Emotions can well up and overwhelm us, consequently we may lose our place or end up confused. That is normal.

With our upcoming belt tests, we thought you might appreciate these guidelines so you know how to conduct yourself during the examination.

And remember, if you are ever in doubt when before Sensei, just do your best.

Before the test begins:

Please make sure all dojo and test fees are paid before the day of testing.

Looking our best gives us confidence and makes us feel good, so wear a clean dogi.

Come to the test prepared.
If you are a junior member, you can click here to see all of the kyu expectations.

Test procedure:

Remember, Sensei will call out students by rank. Lower ranked tests will be completed first.

The first person called (in a test group) should position themself at Sensei’s far left and face forward to the Shomen (dojo front wall). The next student called positions themself to the left of the first student – in the end, there will be a nice straight line, including the senior calling the test.

PAY ATTENTION to the senior student’s commands. They will be responsible for telling you what to do and when to do it. DO NOT watch Sensei. Focus to your front or your partner, whichever is appropriate at the time.

Test format:

Bow to Sensei.

Bow to your partner.

Commence the test – the first person called in a testing pair will be Shitei (performer of technique) first. The Uke (follower of technique, attacker) will always begin each new technique in right basic stance. Next, the Uke will begin the same technique in left basic stance. Following this, the Shitei and Uke change roles.

Always maintain the kamae (basic stance) position between techniques.

When the test is finished, reverse the above order of bowing, then run back to your place in line.


During the test, it is quite possible you may forget a technique. If this happens, remember to stay calm and take a deep breath. Try to relax your mind and your body, then ask for the technique name to be repeated.

Do the same in the event you perform the wrong technique.

O-Sensei often said, “Aikido is harmony and loving protection of all living things.

You must take care. You do not want to cause any undue pain to or injure your partner. You are a set, meant to work as a team.

What to do during the test:

The audience on the tatami (mat) must sit in seiza (kneel, sitting on your heels) at the start and finish of the test. During the test itself, you may sit in seiza or anza (informal, cross-legged sitting position).

REMEMBER it is considered extremely poor etiquette to sit sloppily or with your feet pointing at Sensei or the test participants.

Although testing is an important and natural part of Aikido training, attaining rank is not the main purpose. The test itself and practicing for it are the most important aspects.

Regardless of the outcome there is great potential to grow from the experience.

GOOD LUCK!